she shows no emotion at all
stares into space like a dead China doll
— Elliott Smith, “Waltz #2”
ART AND IRONY
The doll image is of a postcard I taped to my refrigerator while living in Chicago some two decades ago, along with a second postcard by the same artist (below). One summer day I held a well-attended house party. Proceedings were interrupted when several female acquaintances, two white Americans and an Asian American, dragged me away from the party and sat me down on the lawn in front of my house. They were upset about the postcards, which objectified Asian women in the worst way. They felt it their duty to grill me at length. Most vociferous of the three was the Asian, a Korean American. The doll pictured above depicted battery and clearly celebrated violence against women, she said. She could not understand why I had these pictures displayed for all to see. She questioned my ethics and wondered why an educated person would be in possession of such images in the first place.